By Scott Gacek
TRENTON, NJ — Both chambers of the New Jersey legislature voted Monday to enact a bill establishing industrial hemp cultivation licenses in the state.
The bill, Senate Bill 3110, was approved unanimously in the Senate on Monday by a 37-0 vote, followed in the Assembly by a vote of 65-8. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Chris Christie for final approval.
Under the bill, the Secretary of Agriculture can begin issuing licences for the legal cultivation of industrial hemp, but not until the United States government takes action to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, unless the Drug Enforcement Administration grants New Jersey a permit allowing hemp cultivation in the state.
The bill provides specific application procedures and requirements, including fingerprinting and criminal background checks for industrial hemp license applicants.
Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only trace (less than one percent) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food and clothing. The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service.
Over thirty countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service.
The world’s leader in hemp production is Chin